Gambara and the Longbeards

edited and translated by

D. L. Ashliman

© 1997-2001

The Vinils, increased in the islands of Scandinavia to such an extent that they could no longer live there together. Thus they divided themselves into three groups and drew lots.

When the lots were cast and a third of the Vinils had to leave their homeland and seek new lives abroad, they were led by two brothers Ibor and Ayo, energetic young men. Their mother, whose name was Gambara, was an intelligent and clever woman, whose wise counsel they heeded in time of need.

In their search for a country where they might settle they came to the region called Schoringen, and remained there several years.

The Vandals, a rugged and warlike people, lived nearby. They heard of their arrival and sent messengers to them, proclaiming that the Vinils either would have to pay tribute to the Vandals or face them in battle.

Ibor and Ayo sought counsel from their mother Gambara, and they all agreed that it would be better to fight for their freedom than to contaminate it with tribute, and they communicated this to the Vandals. Now the Vinils were brave and powerful warriors, but they were few in number.

The Vandals approached Wodan, beseeching from him victory over the Vinils. The god answered: "I will grant victory to the first ones I see at sunrise."

Gambara, on the other hand, approached Frea, Wodan's wife, and beseeched from her victory for the Vinils. Frea responded with the advice that the Vinil women should untie their hair and arrange it across their face like a beard, and that they should thus accompany their men in the early morning to the window from which Wodan customarily looked out.

They did as they were advised, and at sunrise, Wodan, upon looking out, shouted: "Who are these Longbeards?"

Frea replied: "To the ones you give a name, you must also give victory." And thus Wodan gave them the victory, and from that time forth the Vinils have been called Longbeards (Langobards).

Ultimately they founded a permanent settlement in Italy.

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Revised March 25, 2001.